Date registered: Feb 2010
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Sorry about the problems you're having...I can't help with the technical aspect of it but I would recommend you give these shops that ripped you off a little bit of hell. Forget the BBB (they work for the companies and have no interest in advocating your side, ever), check with various Texas state, county and city governmental agencies. File complaints, seek compensation and sue in small claims if you have to. I had a warranty issue a few months ago and here in California the state waived many charges since I was unemployed.
Regarding the call-back, most shops dont...you gotta bug them quite a bit to stay in contact and/or keep up with what they're doing. Also, shop around if you're going to dump money into the car...you have nothing to lose.
I'm mechanically inclined and was tempted to do the timing chain myself. I could have but the problem is that sometimes 'half knowledge' gets you into deeper troubles. If you go off of assumptions, such as experience or instructions, you might miss something critical and cause other damage. With the transmission, I wouldn't "do it yourself". I recommend you buy a beater car for under a grand for daily driving around.
Former MB: "Miss Juliana" - 1972 280SEL 4.5
Current MB: 2013 C250